Tesco eliminates 1.5 billion pieces of plastic from its packaging

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva


UK supermarket chain Tesco has eliminated more than 1.5 billion pieces of plastic from its packaging since the launch of its 4R packaging strategy. The strategy aims to remove plastic where it can, reduce its use where it can’t, reuse more of it, and recycle what is left.

According to the supermarket chain, 500 million additional pieces of plastic have been identified and removed during the past year, including 200 million bags, 42 million plastic forks, replaced by wooden alternatives, 14 million plastic chicken trays, and 48 million plastic straws replaced with paper alternatives.

The company’s 4R packaging strategy aims to remove where it can, reduce where it can’t, reuse more, and recycle what is left.

Since the strategy’s launch in 2019, the company has eliminated: 

  • Plastic wrapped multipacks of tins, amounting to more than 75 million pieces each year. 
  • 50 million pieces of plastic wrapping from beer and cider cans.
  • 100 million lids from products including wipes, creams, yoghurts and desserts.  
  • 50 million pieces of greeting card plastic.
  • Millions of plastic punnets used for produce such as peaches, plums and tomatoes.  

The company says the 4Rs strategy has seen a business-wide change that examines every piece of packaging and removes unnecessary and non-recyclable material. 

In addition, the supermarket initiates the strategy by giving its suppliers a list of materials that are easier to recycle and will no longer stock products in excessive packaging or hard to recycle materials. It also stated that it supports suppliers to develop more sustainable packing solutions

“We all have a responsibility to take care of our planet, and removing unnecessary plastic is an important way that Tesco can reduce its environmental impact,” said Sarah Bradbury, quality director at Tesco.

“While we are proud of this achievement, we know we have more to do, and our work to tackle the impact of plastic waste will continue this year and beyond.”

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.


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